By Jonathan Morales
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 at 11:12 pm in Moraga.
For once, a Rancho Laguna II hearing that ended before (well before) midnight. This will be posted online sometime Thursday morning and updated later in the day:
MORAGA — After years of planning and months of appeal hearings, a controversial hillside housing development finally got the approval of the Town Council on Wednesday.
Council members OK’d the Rancho Laguna II project, which would place 27 houses in the hills just east of Rheem Boulevard near St. Marys Road. Nineteen of the lots would be near the top of a ridge located on the property; the other eight would be down the hill and closer to Rheem Boulevard.
The Planning Commission approved the project in August 2009, but several residents opposed to building homes near the ridge appealed that decision to the council soon after.
To address opponents’ and council members’ concerns, the developer realigned the project’s main street and relocated the three southernmost houses. Project foes said they would reluctantly support the proposal if one more lot was moved to the street level, something the developer was unwilling to do.
Mayor Karen Mendonca and Councilman Howard Harpham agreed with planning staff that relocating a fourth house was unnecessary and voted to approve the development. Councilman Dave Trotter voted no. Councilmen Mike Metcalf and Ken Chew live within 500 feet of the project and recused themselves from the discussion.